Westward Bound!

by Steve Green Esq

[We are privileged to present a second extract from this year's TransOceanic Friendship Fund report. In the initial memoir, Mr Green described his dash by horseless carriage to Birmingham Skyport, whereupon he boarded an Imperial Airlines flight for the Colonies.]

Although many have expounded the view that travel broadens the mind, I knew the limits of my own patience well enough that the first three days of my journey were passed alone in my private suite, eased into the embrace of Morpheus with occasional doses of the cocaine supplied by my club's private chemist. After all, there is only so much open water one can gaze upon without yearning for even the fleeting stimulus of one of Mr Charles Stross's latest penny dreadfuls.

Come the final morning, however, I set my mind to preparing for my arrival on the island of Manhattan. At least I need not worry about my entrance into the Americas; as the proud possessor of a British passport, I was guaranteed a standard of civility, might I even say subservience, denied those relying upon documentation issued by such lesser nations as New Germany, Texas and the Belgian Confederation.

Furthermore, the fact that I was representing the beating heart of the British Empire at only the second-ever World Scientific Romance Festival outside the United Kingdom brought with it both a heightened public profile and a great responsibility towards those fellow literati who had sponsored my voyage. TOFF had yet to be created on the first occasion the Festival had visited the shores of the New World, though any ambassador to San Francisco in 1906 might have regretted their decision to take part in that particular cultural expedition.

I noted with considerable interest the lead article in the current edition of Waxen Skins, an 'amateur journal' co-edited by Mr Mark Plummer and Miss Claire Brialey (it appears Croydon society has now sunk to the point wherein unmarried individuals can engage in journalistic collaboration with no fear of disapprobation). I was shocked to learn many in the Americas currently refer to the focus of our shared literary fascination as 'sci-rom', a phrase which prompted such a coughing fit I had to rip off my cravat for fear of relapsing into unconsciousness.

At that very moment, the claxon announced we were now close enough to our destination to perceive the distant coast of New York with the aid of an enhanced monocle, perhaps even the Statue of Britannia which greets all approaching that port. I began to pack my trunk, my anticipation of the week ahead elevated with a short drag upon my opium pipe. It was going to be a fascinating trip.